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Frustration Factor

Driving Everyone Up The Wall

9. When talking with people, focus the discussion only on things that are not going well. Especially if you are asked something about you, bring up a problem that is no more than indirectly related to you. Ask what the person is doing about the problem you have highlighted. Whatever the response, say something like, “It’s problems like these that make everything so difficult for us. As you know, when things like that are a mess, they spill all over everything else. It’s a wonder we ever get anything worked out. I’m surprised I manage to work things out as well as I do, all things considered. I don’t know how you put up with it. How do you do it?” Now just listen. If the conversation gets back to you, deal with any problems or issues by saying, “It’s like we were just talking. I certainly am going to try some of the tricks you use to get things to work. I hope you will be willing to share more of your techniques with me. If it weren’t for you, I can’t imagine how bad things could get. I don’t know how you do it.”

10. Whenever anyone criticizes you, place the blame squarely on the person who was at fault; and who of course, isn’t you. You would have been your usual superior self were it not for so-and-so. It will help you to give some thought to this before starting anything, since it may take a while to come up with a plausible excuse, if it doesn’t work out all that well. Be creative. The point is that someone let you down. You can say, “The next time, I’ll just have to do everything myself. That’s the way things are around here. I know you try; but getting people to cooperate is a real problem. If you want, we can spend some time thinking about ways you can get more cooperation.”

11. In these days of political correctness and cultural sensitivity, stepping on the feelings of others may not at first seem like a safe strategy; but don’t be too quick to go with the popular wisdom. There is still a lot to be said for old-fashioned rudeness and abrasiveness. You will need to do most everything you do with a fairly high level of drive and force; but if you are up to it, the results can be impressive. The key to success is in the reputation you develop for being ready to go to war over anything. You are a person of high principle. You don’t enjoy being harsh and abrasive with people, but your principles won’t let you just sit by and see things going down the tube. It exhausts you; but you have to do what you have to do. Even if some people get their feelings hurt, you can’t just let it go. Whatever anyone tries to discuss with you and particularly if it sounds like things are about to go south, you need to blow up. Don’t over do it; but you can be rather intense. “Now I’m starting to get that same nonsense from you. It is bad enough getting it from everyone else; but I expected more from you. You want to waste our time talking about trivia when there are serious issues that no one appears to care about. I’m not going to let you of all people get away with ducking the real issues. Those points you want to spend our time with would not be problems if we dealt head-on with the things that actually matter. They are what make things seem like problems that aren’t problems at all. Do you want to use our valuable time solving problems that don’t matter that much anyway or don’t you care either? I really need to know. Which side of this are you truly on?” There is little doubt which way most anyone is going to go. As an important person, they likely will opt for the truly important issues, as they are defined by you of course.

12. Never let anyone take advantage of you. This starts with not volunteering to do things that just come up and someone has to get them done. They aren’t your problem; and if you start volunteering for things like that, the first thing you know people will just take it for granted that you will take care of it. There is no end to how people will abuse your good nature. You also need to be alert for signs of responsibility drift. That is when things mysteriously end up on your plate when they should not be there. Someone asks you, “How are you doing with thus and such?” You hesitate, trying to figure out what this has to do with you; and before you catch your breath, they continue, “When you are finished with that, there is another little thing that I hope you will take care of for me.” It is first this and then that; and before you know it, you are not only being used, you are used up. Your best strategy is to nip this sort of stuff in the bud.

Perhaps Ayn Rand should get the last word on frustration, “But neither life nor happiness can be achieved by the pursuit of irrational whims. Just as man is free to attempt to survive in any random manner, but will perish unless he lives as his nature requires, so he is free to seek his happiness in any mindless fraud, but the torture of frustration is all he will find, unless he seeks the happiness proper to man. The purpose of morality is to teach you, not to suffer and die, but to enjoy yourself and live.”